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"The Return Of The Space Cowboy" was released as the second album from Jamiroquai. It came out in 1994, a year after the Acid Jazz and Funk band (headed by the lead singer Jay Kay) made their debut to carry through the hype that came with that album with their ability to bring the alternative style into the mainstream without any real effort.
1. "Just Another Story"
They kick the album off with an epic, near-nine-minute-long display that has them laying down nothing but that hardcore funky stuff for the listeners. It sees that Jay Kay returns with the same sorts of things that came of the debut when he spoke out on political issues, and here he uses his light vocals to come out with a heavy jam that does the same, but masks its seriousness in the intense grooves that make it such a killer of an opener that you won't be able tot tear yourself away from once it has begun.
2. "Stillness In Time"
As they keep it rolling through with this one, you see that you get a much more conventional length holding the music together here with a nice little four minute jam from them. You see that you get a much lighter track from them in this case where they lift all the powerful instrumentals that force it towards the Funk side in order to come out with a much more clamed, jazzy affair that keeps up a similarly high standard.
3. "Half The Man"
You see that with this one, as the title suggests, this on has them alternating the direction of the music somewhat here as you find that here you get a bluesy tune from them as you find that they bring another tune that has them performing what sounds to be a really 'full' track with lots occurring at once and it comes together nicely, but the gloominess prevented me from enjoying it as I would have liked to.
4. "Light Years"
Here you see that they kick a fly jam and lift things up massively to the sort of place where we were found to be at the start of the album as they show how they can fuse the traditional instrumentals with more futuristic, electronically-based instruments to match the themes of the track about reaching your full potential in life. It takes you right back to the mid-seventies with the way they lay down the Funk.
5. "Manifest Destiny"
They come out with a fairly lengthy display for this one as you see that they come with what sounds like a general jam session form the band as they are seen to gradually work their way up to where they want to be and they take the listeners on a journey with them in order to feel the context of the main sections of the track first. It is a banger of a tune and I felt that its great structure led to it standing out so much.
6. "The Kids"
This was a track originally dropped from their debut (possibly due to the fact that it doesn't quite fit into its mould) however it seems to have a place here even though it sounds so unlike the rest in the way you see that here they are seen to just get loose with it and lay down a party jam to dance to. It is one of the funkiest joints from them and the speed of it makes it feel so much more intense than the rest up to this point.
7. "Mr. Moon"
Keeping to the futuristic feel that you tend to get with just about everything they produce, here you get them pulling out a track that has the bass playing a prominent role in the song as you see that it means that it forces you into a freaky dance from the get-go with the way that it is seen to bring the Funk through on a track that without it would seem quite mellow. You can't hate on this and it makes for one of the best form them.
Lasting exactly seven minutes, you see that here the band come out with another track that has its controversial lyrics shrouding in the fly grooves that they have to offer to the listeners as you see that Kay Jay sings out a song that works on two levels (most importantly one about the way that politicians lie to get their way up). The breaks are heavy with this one and make it such an exciting listen.
9. "Journey To Arnhemland" (Lude)
10. "Morning Glory"
Following a fly instrumental track, which uses the didgeridoo as was seen on their debut, you find that they appear to change the pace up quite a bit here as they smooth it all out with another one that takes some time to get into as it features a long, winding introduction before Jay Kay finally comes in an accompanies the general flow of the piece perfectly as they make for what sounds like a new beginning for them.
11. "Space Cowboy"
They end the album off with a big single form the act as you see that here you have them laying out a joint that was able to effectively fit in with the direction of the rest of the album, but still mange to break through into the mainstream with the irresistible feel of the thing tha just does it all bring Jazz and Funk up to modern times without either being compromised to any degree whatsoever as a killer way to end it off.
Although I can't say that I enjoyed this over their debut as you see that they come with an album that is pulled down ever so slightly by the slower, bluesy tracks. However I can't say that I wouldn't recommend it as you get something big in each and every cut, and they bring the Funk like no other UK-based act could at the time.
Respected and ribbed, admired and admonished, Jay K has kept his head throughout the easy jibes at stupid hats and the Stevie Wonderisms. For Jamiroquai have proved the impossible: that by infecting the naffness of soul-boy fusion with a dirty funk virus, this mix can indeed be hip. For this second album, Jay’s voice is a little less bruising; the bass is fat and juicy; the horns bite; even the didgeridoo makes a reappearance. In short, The Return Of The Space Cowboy steps in where Emergency On Planet Earth stepped off. What it does miss are those nifty choruses—no ‘Blow Your Mind’ or ‘Too Young To Die’ here. . But where it does score is with the growing confidence of a group finding their voice and style almost uniquely their (his) own. Still, ‘Half The Man’ is a gorgeous summer breeze, the single ‘Space Cowboy’ a druggy cruise mixing half a dozen different influences and Kids’ a vicious blast shuddering in Prince’s direction. The trouble comes when musicianship is mistaken for feel: ‘Just Another Story’ is packed like a rush-hour train, just when you think there’s no room to breathe, the doors open and the horn section squeezes in. But while Jay currently promotes himself as a space cadet, his material becomes a little less interesting with each circle of the same orbit. Worth buying certainly but not for constant repeated listenings.
If Emergency on Planet Earth was the the Green album, Return of the Space Cowboy was the Society Sucks one. JK moves between race relations (“Manifest Destiny”), the hardship faced by gangsta kids (“Just Another Story”, “The Kids”), and general disillusionment (“Scam”). The tone is often aggressive but always perfectly matched by the funky-as-hell music, and a more reflective side comes through in the slower “Stillness In Time” and “Half the Man”. As on the first album (see my reviews of this and all the others also on the Dooyoo site), plenty of space is given for instrumentalists to shine (the very first track has a long flute solo – not something you hear every day). But in my view this complements the vocal parts rather than detracting from them, and it wouldn’t be Jamiroquai without it. Nor would it be Jamiroquai without the obligatory instrumental track, complete with didgeridoo, which comes in the form of the energised but comfortable “Journey to Arnhemland”. And for their lazier, chilled sound, you can’t do better than “Morning Glory” and “Mr Moon”. RotSC is probably Jamiroquai’s most varied album, and in many people’s opinion their best (though I prefer the first one, just). Wherever you stand it’s undeniably a fantastic album, and no collection is complete without it. Though how he managed to get away with the line “Yesterday I was/Half the man I used to be” I’ll never know.
Jam are the only mainstreem and popular acid jaz band i know of, which is a shame because its such a cool laid back kinda music. this cd is full of catchy tunes and sharp lyrics from lead singer JK. The singing is very carismatic and the songs are really well written. this is the only cd i own by jameriqui but i would consider buyig another if i had the time to listen to it cos they are a great band!
Released in 1994, The Return of the Space Cowboy was Jamiroquai's second and in my opinion their best album to date. From the outset, this album promises to deliver and does not disappoint. Kicking things off with the track 'Just Another Story' you are made to wonder if they can sustain this level throughout. They can. The perfect accompaniment to a summer's day from the lazy mellow 'Morning Glory' to the fast frenetic frenzy that is 'The Kids', The Return of the Space Cowboy' offers something for whatever mood takes you with the title track nicely rounding everything off. If you do not own anything by Jamiroquai then this album is a very good place to start your soon to become addiction.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Just Another Story
2 Stillness In Time
3 Half The Man
4 Light Years
5 Manifest Destiny
7 Mr Moon
9 Journey To Arnhemland
10 Morning Glory
11 Space Cowboy